Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo

Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo

Colorado-based DP and Director Danny Schmidt recently traveled to Colombia on behalf of National Geographic to obtain footage of the albino brown spider monkey. Equipped with a slew of video gear from Borrowlenses and a qualified crew, they had 8 days to gather the footage needed to tell the story of this beautiful and endangered species.  Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo by Danny Schmidt The Mission The world of wildlife filmmaking is full of unknowns. Will I see any animals? Will I capture interesting behavior? Will the weather cooperate? We generally go into the field equipped with the right gear, a lot of research, and a general willingness to suffer to get the shot. But beyond those things, we just hope that we actually see an animal when are cameras are rolling. On a recent trip to Colombia in search of albino brown spider monkeys, the odds were definitely not in our favor. There are only two (yes, two) of these albinos known to exist in the wild and we had a short window to find them and tell their story. Brown spider monkeys are critically endangered and their habitat is severely fragmented. This has caused genetic bottlenecking and, as a result, albinism in one of the family groups. These albinos are incredibly beautiful but they bring a pretty sobering message about the fate of a species when populations become isolated. Our mission was to find the monkeys, tell their story through the voice of the local researcher, and create a portrait of the stunning biodiversity of this threatened area. We had 8 days to do it. Without the help of the...
Atomos Shogun First Impressions

Atomos Shogun First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a few tips for folks shooting with the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder. I’ve had some time to put my unit through a few shoots and have some first impressions to share. Look and Feel Some folks have commented on the fact that the Shogun feels a bit cheap in terms of build quality, especially compared to the other big 4K recorder, the Odyssey 7Q. While it’s true that the Shogun definitely has a somewhat plasticky feel to it, I actually appreciated the weight savings. This thing is going to live on top of my Sony A7s, attached either with a shoe-mount ballhead or a magic arm. Add to that the fact that I use a pretty heavy Sony battery with my kit and the weight savings from going with a plastic body are even more appreciated. The plastic doesn’t bother me at all; the unit still feels solid enough for daily use, though I’m not about to subject it to a drop test. Moreover, I love the hard Pelican case that Atomos ship with this thing. It’s got cutouts for everything that comes with the Shogun, along with extra cutouts for more batteries. Features I have to say, I’m impressed with the featureset. The fact that it shoots 4K is enough of a party trick, but Atomos have packed it full of a lot of other features. From peaking and zebras to false color and vectorscopes, the Shogun is a full-featured video monitor that I’ve now come to rely on even when I don’t shoot 4K. I love having the ProRes codec (even...
Canon 70D – Continuous Autofocus With STM Lenses

Canon 70D – Continuous Autofocus With STM Lenses

Have you ever tried to autofocus in Live View with a DSLR? Pretty crummy, right? The Canon 70D changes that a bit with what they call Dual Pixel CMOS AF. This fairly new technology allows smooth, continuous autofocus (Canon calls is Movie Servo AF) while recording video. Continue on to view the test footage recorded when paired with Canon’s STM lenses. You may also be wondering what STM stands for in all these newly released Canon lenses! It stands for STepping Motor and it is the newest technology developed by Canon to better enable smooth video capture. Lenses designed with STM technology produce super smooth continuous autofocus even while shooting video. In addition, STM lenses are silent, eliminating traditional AF noise that was known to creep into video. We took the 24-105mm STM lens out to gather some example footage to share with you. Overall the AF tracks pretty well and pulls smoothly. Combined with the 70D, the AF experience is much more camcorder-like than what is the norm shooting with DSLRs. So there you have it! An easy solution to shoot some basic video, especially if you are just breaking in and would like a good head start into the popular world of DSLR video production. Incidentally, you can also take advantage of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology in the new Canon 7D Mark ll. Let us know your feedback and how you enjoyed this setup or what you would recommend in the comments...
5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

5 Quick Tips for Shooting with the Atomos Shogun

We recently received the Atomos Shogun external monitor/recorder, a bit of gear a lot of customers have been eager to work with for some time now. We’re currently putting it through its paces and will have sample footage for you soon, but for now, we thought we’d put together a few tips and tricks that we’ve found useful when shooting with the Atomos Shogun. 1. Audio If you’ve got something like a Rode Videomic Pro plugged into your camera and intend to have the Shogun record the audio off that, you need to make sure the Shogun is set to do so. On the bottom-left corner of the Shogun’s screen is a small icon representing incoming audio (highlighted in red here). Tap that to bring it up, then make sure that the “Rec” button is a bright red next to the audio channel you want to record. If you’re not seeing any activity in your intended channel, check your camera; audio recording might be turned off. 2. Ensure clean HDMI output Cameras like the A7s can output not just the video signal to the Shogun, but also the on-screen menus – which will get recorded along with your intended footage. Make sure you turn those off!   3. Lock your screen Once you start recording, you can press the power button once on the shogun to lock the screen. This prevents any accidental touches from registering on the touch screen. You can also change a setting in the Shogun to power the screen down when you lock it, and save that use for in-between shots to save battery life. 4. Touch...
The Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS Lens is Ready for Your Next Video Shoot

The Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS Lens is Ready for Your Next Video Shoot

We have a new cine lens for rent – the FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS. It’s ideal for both the Sony FS7 and the Sony a7S but will mount on any E mount camera. It is ideal for run-and-gun style shooting, documentary filmmaking, and any other cinematic use where portability is important. Here are some features that really stand out about this lens and why should you shoot with it. Focal Length: 28 – 135mm. Versatile range that prevents you from having to change lenses. Maximum Aperture: f/4. Fast enough for most low-light and out-of-focus needs. Designed for full frame Sony E mount cameras. Pair this with Sony’s a7 line. Compatible with crop sensor E Mount cameras. Pair this with the FS700, FS7, or any E mount camera. 1.31′ Minimum Focusing Distance. Relatively close range for a lens reaching up to 135mm. Auto Focus with Manual Focus Override. Fine-tune your focusing without using an AF/MF switch. Image Stabilization (Optical SteadyShot, or OSS). Allows you to gain more stops without sacrificing sharpness when shooting at lower shutter speeds. Super Sonic wave Motor. Silent autofocusing – essential for video. The FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS is light weight and partially manufactured with polycarbonate, making this lens more impact resistant and also better protected from the sun. It also helps save on weight. You can select between clicked and de-clicked aperture for ultimate control. Having a de-clicked aperture makes it great for run-and-gun shooting and adjusting exposure mid-take like when there is a major shift in exposure walking from indoor to outdoor lighting. This lens was designed side-by-side with the FS7, which boasts internal firmware to correct for aberrations, making this lens...